Togo 2012: Days 4-5

Still struggling to upload photos. Should find it much easier from Monday evening onwards after our return to Lomé. I'll be able to use the computer of Frère François in the Brothers' community.

Day 4

After our 2 full and "full on" days at Foyer 2 (their base out in the bush) and with the weather still very hot and humid, our driver Bernard took pity on us and suggested to his colleagues at the orphanage that he take us to a Hotel swimming pool on Weds. morning as a little treat. The group didn't need long to think about an answer to the proposition... so off we went. A highly enjoyable and unexpected treat for the group and also for 2 of the older lads from the orphanage who came with us: Paul + Xavier and who loved every minute of it.

After lunch at Foyer 1 in town we spent the afternoon playing games and making friendship bracelets with the older children who live there and the young children of those who run the orphanage.

Health + food update:

Pleased to say that despite a few minor upsets (one short-lived stomach upset, a couple of minor diarrhea bouts...) everyone seems in good form and is drinking plenty of fluids. There is bottled mineral water available at every meal. For the evening meals at the restaurant attached to the convent where we are staying the bottles are chilled, as are the fizzy drinks that we also get for the evening meal... a little treat I allow for the group as they are all getting very involved in the activities in what is difficult weather conditions given the heat and especially the humidity. The local brand of Togolese bottled fruit drinks (Youki) is proving very popular. It is less sugary and less fizzy than such as Fanta or Coke.

As regards the food, there is a good variety of options though we all have the same thing together for each meal to simplify the job of the cooks; e.g. chiken, beef or fish with either rice, couscous, spaghetti, fufu, or igname (a popular root vegetable) chips. Even Jack is eating well. He has at least tried almost everything, though he does get a bit of playful stick from time to time (which he takes in good heart).

A couple of us have had minor colds (inc. me) and one person (me!) picked up a muscle strain in the rib area after a heavy fall during one of the football matches on Tues. :-) A few have picked up a bit of sunburn, but I think they have now learned their lesson and will be much more careful to apply enough suncream to potentially sensitive areas in future.


Day 5

Thursday morning saw us being taken on a tour of various places around Kara: a "children's village" run by international charity SOS, the apprentice workshops belonging to Foyer La Pierre Du Pauvre (our orphanage) where the older children and young adults, especially those struggling with academic work, are given the opportunity to learn skills and crafts that could lead to future employment (joinery, metalwork, masonry, electrical appliance repairs, motor repairs, tailoring, etc...) and then a Don Bosco (Salesian) orphanage where we ended up staying for a couple of hours to play games with the children: small ball games, frisbee and a hotly contested 6-a-side game of "beach" football. Anthony continued his excellent form in goal from the 2 matches at Foyer 2, but despite this we lost 2-0, the sandy conditions taking a bit of getting used to, as did the tough barefooted tackling of the opposition. Though as this was just a "friendly" Team Win!'s record on tour in Africa remained intact. We were nonetheless keen to get revenge... the opportunity would present itself a couple of days later.

In the afternoon Bernard (top man our Bernard and top driver) took us to a National Park about 20 km outside Kara where we had the privilege to see in close quarters macacs (monkeys - one of which we fed a few mangos, though JD got a little to close for comfort to this particular specimen at one point, much to the amusement of the rest of the group. The animal concerned was actually the only one chained up and was attached to a tree), ostrichs, giant tortoises, bison, buffalo, gnu, antelopes and various other members of the antelope/deer family. As we watched the sun set in the distance over the African savannah at the end of the tour Mary and Paddy both commented on how this scene typified what many people have in the minds when they think of African scenery. I agreed. And it was quite beautiful.
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